The pile of boxes we have stacked in the guesthouse represent a lot of decisions about the house project.
Category Archive: Building Flattop
Our fireplaces are the heart of our house and an element we took great care to design.
The siding for our house is Japanese cypress that has been charred to make it more resilient and beautiful. It’s called “Shou Sugi Ban” or “yakisugi”.
Once the drywall goes up, a lot of decisions become harder to change. We tried our best to think ahead and avoid any changes.
Our house was designed to have a metal standing seam roof and I was not clear about how, exactly, the roof panels would be delivered and applied. It turns out they are formed on-site.
Before siding was applied, our house was striped with wooden supports. These are there to create a rain screen that’s designed not to trap moisture.
A snapshot of summer 2020 when we were staining cedar for the house, preparing to publish a book, and spending a lot of time on the Salish Sea.
If you picture a Japanese village in your mind, you’re likely to imagine buildings with a dark brown or black appearance, with a lot of character. This appearance, comes, in part, from an ancient Japanese method of charring wood to make it more resilient. The final product is called “yakisugi” or “shou sugi ban”. The Japanese found that charring the wood gave a unique character made it last longer.
When we started planning our house on Orcas Island, people often asked about our plans for a generator assuming we’d need one. For a while, we had the same assumption.
In the spring of 2017, Sachi and I became consumed with an idea. On a camping trip to Orcas Island, which is off the NW coast of Washington State, we started to ask serious questions about the future. While drinking wine from a box by a campfire, we first started to...
We’ve taken on a number of projects in the house construction project. Along with a lot of planning, we are the painters and cleaners. These help save money, help us learn and make us a part of the team.
Moving from Seattle to an island was a shock for a lot of reasons. One of the most interesting was learning to be more self-sufficient than we ever have.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, we had to reevaluate two of the biggest projects of our lives. This is how it felt at the time.
A walk to our construction site ends in seeing orca whales in the water in front of the house.
The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain. I had anticipated this moment for over a year. For the first time, I stepped foot onto the newly laid subfloor of our house. I realize this might not sound like a revelation and in reality, I had...
Ready for Rain at one year. A review of the events in 2019, as shared in the newsletter.
Home construction is a project that takes significant time and it’s not always clear why. It can be painful and frustrating, but it’s often necessary for quality. This is our experience.
The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain. Early in the design process, John, our architect, said something that caught my attention. He said our design would require a lot of steel. Not knowing much about engineering a house, I took it as a...
A look at a home construction project on Orcas Island, WA as the framing is being built.
House plans are not written in stone. Achieving what you want requires constant edits and course corrections and it’s best to catch them in advance.